What is a B Visa?

The B Visa is a temporary, non-immigrant Visa that allows the holder to travel to the United States for either business or tourism purposes. B Visa holders are allowed to stay in the U.S. for up to 6 months at a time. After that period, the individual has to either leave the U.S. or file for an extension. It is a great option for those hoping to travel to the U.S. to participate in an accelerator program, fundraise, hire new people, or attend a conference or training.

Classifications of B Visa

The classification will depend on the purpose of the trip and will ultimately be determined by the officer at the U.S. port of entry.

B1 Business

Intended for attending conferences, interviews, and negotiating contracts. There should be no payment or credit given to the attendee, as it could be interpreted as unlawful employment.

B2 Tourism

Intended for tourism, vacations, visiting relatives, or receiving medical treatment.

Who is eligible for a B Visa?

To be eligible for a B Visa, the candidate must demonstrate that the purpose of their trip is temporary, and that they have strong ties with their home country and have no intent to remain in the U.S. permanently.
If you are a citizen of one of the 38 countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (commonly known as ESTA), then you can travel to the U.S. for business or tourism for up to 90 days without a Visa. Please remember that the ESTA cannot be extended and you need to leave the U.S. after 90 days

Can I be employed in the U.S. under a B-1/B-2 Visa?

No, a B Visa does not allow any type of employment for a U.S. based company. If you want to work or earn a salary from a company based in the U.S. then you must to apply for a work Visa.

What type of documents are required to apply
for a B-1/B-2 Visa?

Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States.

Form DS-160 and Visa fee.

Proof of ability to cover your expenses while in the United States.

Documents showing the purpose of your trip to the U.S.

Evidence that you'll return to your home country.

Employer letter if applying for a B-1 Visa.

How do I apply for a B Visa?

You can apply for a B Visa online and schedule a consulate interview. Wait times for B Visa interviews vary from country to country. There are several steps to apply for a Visa.

1

STEP 1. Complete the Online Visa Application

You will need to complete the online DS-160 Visa application and print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview.

2

STEP 2. Schedule an Interview

Interviews are generally required for Visa applicants, with certain limited exceptions. Consular officers can require an interview of any Visa applicant.

3

STEP 3. Appointment Wait Time

Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and Visa category, so you should apply for your Visa as soon as possible. You can check the estimated wait time for a nonimmigrant Visa interview appointment, at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, here.

4

STEP 4. Gather Required Documentation

Gather and prepare all  required documents. Additional documents may be requested to establish if you are qualified, including evidence of the purpose of your trip, your intent to depart the United States after your trip, and/or your ability to pay all costs of the trip.

1

STEP 1. Complete the Online Visa Application

You will need to complete the online DS-160 visa application and print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview.

2

STEP 2. Schedule an Interview

Interviews are generally required for visa applicants with certain limited exceptions below. Consular officers may require an interview of any visa applicant.

3

STEP 3. Appointment Wait Time

Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early. You can check the estimated wait time for a nonimmigrant visa interview appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate here.

4

STEP 4. Gather Required Documentation

Gather and prepare the required documents. Additional documents may be requested to establish if you are qualified, including evidence of the purpose of your trip, your intent to depart the United States after your trip, and/or your ability to pay all costs of the trip.

Extending Your Stay

If you want to extend your stay in the United States, you must file a request with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before your authorized stay expires. If you remain in the United States longer than authorized, you may be barred from returning and/or you may be removed (deported) from the United States.

To be eligible for a B-1/B-2 Visa extension, you must demonstrate that the purpose behind the extension of the trip is temporary, and that you have strong ties with your home country, and have no intent to remain in the U.S. permanently.

Explore More

A foreign national traveling to the United States to conduct temporary business needs a visitor Visa (B-1), unless qualifying for entry under the Visa Waiver Program. Examples of temporary business include:

  • attending business meetings or consultations,
  • negotiating contracts,
  • traveling for a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, or a conference on specific dates,
  • settling an estate,
  • participating in short-term training.

B-1 Visa and B-2 Visa holders are not authorized to seek any form of employment from within the United States. They are also unable to earn credit for any studies done in the country. However, they may have an employer petition for them to convert to the H-1B or O-1 status if they meet the requirements.

The maximum stay on a B1/B2 Visa is one year. Therefore, the maximum duration for an extension you can ask for is up to six months. To get the extension, the Form I-539 must be submitted to extend or change the status. It is recommended that you apply to extend your status at least 45 days before your authorized stay expires.

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